Questions for: THERESA
[Theresa to M. Lee:] I'm afraid we just been stayin' pen pals. I miss those girls terribly, and I hope Melanie keeps writing me--she's developing into a wise little girl, and I'm so sad to hear she's had to leave that child to her own devices. She tells me she also been keepin' in touch with a local fella, Mister Erick, and that he ain't seen her neither. I'm thinkin' she's moved on from the area and I can only pray she where she s'posed to be--someplace better than the streets of New York.
[Theresa to SHO!:] All I knew when I saw her was here was a child who weren't gettin' proper care. I still have no Earthly idea what that child is, and it's clear to me she ain't a human child, but what's important is she acts like it. Those are human tears and human needs, even if she's somethin' else. I'm a mama, so I get a special POKE from the Lord when I hear a baby cryin', but even before I had my first babe I took care of everythin' in my path, from lost puppies to hungry beetles. Little wonder I ended up on the streets when I take care of other people before I take care of myself.
[Theresa to SHO!:] I ain't gonna lie, I know I got in over my head helpin' her. [Laughs] I always do as much as I possibly can, but when I don't got resources, there ain't much I can do. I'd have felt a little different if I'd had a home for the poor child, but when I met her I didn't even have one for myself. How could I be a stand-in for a mama when even my own kids got taken away from me? And I got no idea how much you know 'bout my life, but I got this condition called epilepsy, and medication's s'posed to control it but wouldn't ya know, after I got divorced I lost my insurance. But even though I had no resources, I'm sensible, and I saw potential in Melanie takin' care of her. That girl seemed way too young to be runnin' around like that, but she was definitely clean and fed most of the time, so somebody was puttin' her in the bath and puttin' that junk food in her hand.
[Theresa to SHO!:] I suspect she just wanted to take better care of the baby. For someone with a rough home life, she got some surprisingly motherly attachment to that child, and she almost know how to do it right, too! It's sweet; her heart's in the right place. Hard to tell, though, if Melanie is the type for running away or running toward.
[Theresa to SHO!:] Nobody should ever ask me if I got advice and not corral me into a specific subject! [Laughs] If you mean about running away, I obviously think children belong in capable caregivers' hands. She definitely shouldn't be thinkin' 'bout runnin' away though. And she need to stay in school.
[Theresa to SHO!:] Would I if it was up to me? 'Course. But first off, I don't have nowhere to take them in to. And as far as Melanie goes, she legally belong to her parents, and her life situation is up to the courts. I could get in deep trouble if I just go takin' somebody's kid, though o'course if she gettin' abused or neglected it'd be easy with my resources to figure out who to tell. But I got no rights to this child. I sure as heck would let her sleep at my house whenever she wanted to if she needed it, though.
[Theresa to SHO!:] Yes, o'course I know . . . I lectured her about it and made her go to church! [Laughs] I wouldn't say stealin' is a necessity even now, though. If she got no money and she out on the street all day, she ought to be put in better care. There ain't no reason anybody got to be stealin' at all.